Getting closure without getting an apology

A question I received recently was, "what if only one person is interested in healing?" This is a really common scenario when someone has hurt us. 

That person might have left our life a long time ago. They may be in jail or in another country or in the military, or they just may not want to be found.  Some people claim not to remember the actions they engaged in that harmed us and others really do not remember because they were drinking, or mentally ill, or because they subconsciously choose to be 'in denial'.  

Still others will admit to the actions that caused harm but honestly believe that those actions were not wrong. And some people, the ones that make us (or me, at least) most angry, are just stubborn or prideful or willfully cruel. 

And what if this "person" who caused harm is an institution, like a bank or a school or a church? It's unlikely that any actual human at that institution will take personal responsibility and provide us the satisfaction of making amends. The institution may not even have broken any laws, so there's simply no recourse of any kind; we are just left with our anger and resentment. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 7.40.15 PM.png

If we rely on the bad guy, the abuser, the criminal, the cheater—whoever has done wrong by us—to apologize or admit their wrongdoing before we can be happy, we could be waiting a long time.  I've been let go from (or walked out of) more than one abusive office job in the past, and no amount of calm discourse or vehement disgust from me has ever convinced anyone to give me my job back or change their behavior. 

And what if the person who inflicted this spiritual wound has died and is now on the other side, in Spirit?

Well, this could be an exception. If you can get in contact with them in Spirit, they might just apologize.  From that vantage point, on the other side, most people are able to see the bigger picture, feel empathy for us,  and understand the affect their actions had on us. 

But just because a person has "gone into the light", it doesn't mean they are suddenly an enlightened being. It still took my father years after he had died to see things differently than he did on earth and to finally apologize to me for the abuse he inflicted.  

So, how are we to be happy when we cannot hope to get any satisfaction from the guilty party?

I spent 40 years figuring out how to be happy. It was maddening. I used to think, "why the hell should I have to work this hard? It's not my fault and I'm the one who got hurt in the first place."  It was infuriating and completely unfair.  But the pain just wouldn't stop and so I kept going through tears and rage and loneliness. Finally I came out on the other side. I looked back and contemplated what I had done. 

This is the answer: The first step is to accept and stay present with our emotions—every emotion—good, bad, and ugly. Let them flow, from wherever they have been: deep in the past or just last week. The second step is to admit that we are responsible for our own happiness. The third step is to act accordingly. Notice that there's no need to involve the bad guy.  There's no need to wait for him to apologize or reform or be punished.  

I'll admit that it takes a lot of courage. But it doesn't have to take you 40 years, like it took me.

If you want to read more about it, click here to get a free copy of my best-selling book.

Much love,

 

Reverend Steph